Holiday Stress? How I Clear Up A Breakout

How I Clear Up a Breakout (1 of 1)I don’t know if it’s the mounting holiday stress, testing out new beauty products or what, but the past week or so? I’ve been majorly broken out. With a few fun projects looming, it’s more than a little concerning when my skin looks a mess. (Like, seriously, who wants to take any photos with a giant zit? No one.)

In the interest of clearing it up, I’ve gone back to my tried and true routine for clearing up a breakout. It may be random, but it works for me. As with all skincare stories, I feel I need to remind you- all skin is not created equal. What works for me may not work for you, and vice-versa. Here’s what I do:

How I Clear Up a Breakout (2 of 6)Step 1: Spot treat with my favorite charcoal mask.

I love the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. A few years ago, I read somewhere that a beauty editor would spot treat a pimple with the charcoal mask when she had a sudden breakout. I was so excited to give the mask a shot, and I LOVED it when I first used it. I slathered it ALL over my face. And then… I broke out. Why? Because active charcoal DRAWS OUT the impurities. And when you draw out the impurities… you break out. Because all the dirt has to go SOMEWHERE. That’s the beauty of a charcoal mask. If you love the sound of that, you might want to check out somewhere like, as they have a guide to some of the best charcoal masks on the market right now. I now only spot treat with the charcoal mask. If you already HAVE a pimple, this mask is amazing .It dries it up almost instantly and shrinks it to a tiny little thing that disappears. I love the way the mask feels… you can actually feel it sucking the dirt out. Amazing.

How I Clear Up a Breakout (3 of 6)

Step 2: Use a face wash with Salicylic Acid.

I love the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish face wash. It’s gentle, smells good, and fights both acne AND wrinkles. Win-win for a gal in her early 30s. (I used it in my 20s too!) For some insane reason, it’s so hard for me to find! Target and Walgreens NEVER have it. (At least, my local ones don’t!) I find it either at Walmart or online. I had sort of stopped using this for awhile, and I think that may be why I broke out in the first place.

How I Clear Up a Breakout (5 of 6)

Step 3: Moisturize.

Moisturizing your face is SO important. When your face doesn’t get enough moisture, your skin produces even more oil and your pores clog which means- you got it- breakouts. This is one of the reasons why face oils are so good for you and actually DON’T cause breakouts. (You’d think oil+oil=breakouts, but really it’s not true.) I always rotate my moisturizers. Now, I’m using Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer.

How I Clear Up a Breakout (4 of 6)

Step 4: Retinol.

Ok, so retinol is good for wrinkles and pimples. I don’t know if this is a legit technique, but I LOVE the sulfur based Over Night Resurfacing Serum by Dr Brandt. I actually had a personal consultation with Dr Brandt before he passed away and he prescribed this for me himself as a part of my skincare routine. It’s supposed to exfoliate your skin and keep it young, fresh and glowy. While not technically something to fight acne, since it has sulfur and retinol… a byproduct of that is acne treatment. So. Whatever, I use it. It seems to work. LOL.

How I Clear Up a Breakout (6 of 6)

Step 5: Zap it.

The final step is actually once again spot treating the zit. I love, love, love Dermalogica’s Breakout Control. It’s gentle, yet takes care of that nasty zit. Speaking of a spot treatment, one ingredient that I have been meaning to look into is hemp oil. This is said to help prevent breakouts, which is what I definitely need. I haven’t yet purchased anything like this before, but now I know I can shop hemp online, this would be something I would be willing to try. Skincare is definitely hit or miss, so you have to try a few products in order to know what works best for you.

Update 11/21/15: UM. OK. Amended this routine. The Breakout Control is literally the Holy Grail of acne products. I re-read the instructions and found that you should really be using the Breakout Control BEFORE moisturizer and apply a thin layer all of your face. I actually skipped Step 4 and just did Step 5 and… let me tell you. the three huge whiteheads that had sprouted DISAPPEARED in 2 days. MIRACLE. PRODUCT.

Optional step 2.5 that I often use: swipe the affected area with Tea Tree Oil. I LOVE Tea Tree Oil but am currently out. Honestly, it’s the best thing ever. It’s so effective! All my friends have recommended it, and I’m so glad I finally listened to them, it’s a game-changer. If you’ve never used tea tree oil– it’s amazing, but it smells like a mixture of mint and gasoline. IT’S SO GOOD THOUGH.

So that’s what I’ll be doing to rid myself of this horrific breakout I’m in the middle of. EEK. What do you do to fight acne?? Is your skin a mess yet too or is it too early in the season for you? Tell me in the comments !

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xo, Stephanie

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